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 high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: PeterinToronto 2017
Date:   2020-02-27 09:10

Hi everyone,

I'm working up Shostakovich 10 on Eb, and it has reminded me that while I am generally quite comfortable on the instrument, I have always struggled to produce high G and G# in tune and not flat. And high A has been a 'teeth on reed' only note. I did find a cool altissimo fingering chart of E.Michael Richard's that shows up to G#, and 1 past posting here, but does anyone have any ideas?

I use a Buffet R13 with a Richard Hawkins mouthpiece, a Rovner ligature, and cut-down Vandoren traditional Bb clarinet reeds.

Thanks a lot,


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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: igalkov 
Date:   2020-02-27 10:41

Hi PeterinToronto,
I had this problem with The Stone Flower by Prokofiev. I’ve changed notes that was extremely flat with a half tone up notes: G instead of F sharp and A instead of G sharp. That was really nice solution.

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: PeterinToronto 2017
Date:   2020-02-27 23:54

Thanks Igor!

I have been using this kind of technique, but I do wonder, having heard a player once play high A comfortably, if there's something in my setup or playing technique that is causing the flatness.


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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: DAVE 
Date:   2020-02-28 03:39

G# thumb, Octave then ooo|xoo eb

A thumb, octave then oxx|ooo c#

On Eb play the normal fingerings here. If you are trying to play a semitone higher then you’ve got issues with your set up or embochure. I play these easily with a B40 or B44 and my preferred white master 3 or a cut off blue box 3.5.

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: elmo lewis 
Date:   2020-02-29 04:49

For high A and Bb try taking a brand new reed straight out of the box, slap it on the mouthpiece and try to hit the note. You might also have to use a blue box 4.

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: donald 
Date:   2020-02-29 06:15

On my R13 E flat I used to use....
G = TR X00 X00
G# = TR X00 000 with Rh chromatic F# side keys
A= TR 0XX 000 with E/B key

I say "used to use" as my wife swapped that E flat clarinet for a video camera because we didn't need 2 eefers in the house... I haven't tried these fingerings on "our" current eefer (R13 pimped up by Guy Chadash), but they worked fine on my older one.

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: Michael Maxwell 
Date:   2020-02-29 19:43

Hello Peter,

I'm one of those people who can go up to the high C on the Eb. There are a few things you need to do to get those high notes:

1. Use the C# key instead of the Eb key for notes A and higher. (The actual fingering is less important, as you will vary it according to the passage and the instrument, as usual.)
2. Take more reed in the mouth.
3. Practice playing all the overtones without the register key to ensure that you are voicing properly.
4. Use the proper reed. For the very highest notes on the instrument not any reed will work. Especially if you use cut down Bb reeds. The proper reed need to be not as hard as you may think but very flexible. I used to use cut down Bb reeds but since Vandoren came up with the V21, I just use them now and save a lot of time.
Generally I use an half size lower on Eb than the Bb. You don't need hard reeds if you're playing the little guy properly.

I hope that helps.
If you'd like to ask me any questions give me a call in Ottawa at 613-402-4387.

Happy squeaking

Ottawa Canada

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: Zacharywest158 
Date:   2020-03-02 20:35

Hi Peter,

The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten on Eb clarinet high register is to slightly relax and open up the voicing. This seems contradictory, but you need to give the reed space to produce the crazy amount of vibration required for those upper partials. It will also help to move your lower lip lower down on the reed for the same reason.

Happy practicing! Remember to wear earplugs!

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2020-03-04 22:34

I've never had 2 play altissimo A in eefer. What pieces call for that? I didn't even know it was possible to play past the altissimo G# on the eefer (all sopranino clarinets) or the lower clarinets.

I tighten my embouchure to a tight smile, blow hard, lip up and bite to play in the altissimo register on the eefer. I've been complimented on this by a college band director on Elsa's Procession To The Cathedral.

I used Vandoren WhiteMaster #4 reeds, cut down 4 the eefer.

I hope this helps.

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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: PeterinToronto 2017
Date:   2020-03-09 22:33

Thanks everyone for the great advice! There is a high A in the Eb part to R.Strauss' Elektra, and I think in at least one Mahler part, Mahler 6? Shost.10 goes up to a few high Ab's.

I'll try some different reeds and the voicing tips above, thanks a lot!


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 Re: high G# and A on Eb clarinet
Author: rmk54 
Date:   2020-03-09 22:47

The Mahler 6 is actually a high B-flat for the D Clarinet.

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